Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest

My family and I have been anxiously awaiting the new Pirates movie. We own the first installment (have watched it a number of times) and headed out to an early showing on Friday. (So yes, we have contributed to the record $132 million it's taken in this weekend.) My viewing experience wasn't premium. We were at an older theater, since it saved us about $10 (even with matinee prices) - thus my head was looking straight up at the screen the whole time. And Sonny Boy kept nudging my arm saying, "I'm starving!! Can I PLEASE have some popcorn?" "No! You ate just before you came! Hush and let me watch the movie!"

Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. About 10 minutes into the movie, I thought - "This is like The Empire Strikes Back!" Empire is my favorite of the original Star Wars trilogy (I just pretend the prequels never happened). I sat in the theater Friday thinking about three main characters who thought they knew their situation in the world suddenly being thrust into new circumstances - new worlds. Their plans had gone awry - and in these new worlds, they discovered parts on themselves they didn't realize were there - for good and for bad. Conflict ensues, loyalties are tested, and we are left hoping the good will win out, but also knowing that no one is all good or all bad.

I have always loved swashbucklers. Maureen O'Hara is my favorite actress of all time - especially when she was aboard a pirate ship. Once again, Pirates had creative, interesting and exciting action sequences. The best action took place this time, not on board, but on land. There were nods to the original - but the action was not contrived or repetitive. I liked the twists and turns in the original movie, and appreciated the continued twists and turns.

I have heard complaints about a complex plot. I did have to think about the plot (esp. with Sonny Boy begging for popcorn), but thinking about a plot and figuring out the twists and turns is part of the joy I find in a good movie. The plot was not too complex or difficult - but interesting and thought-provoking. I figured out fairly easily what was happening as the movie progressed (even though I must confess to having no clue how the gambling game worked on board The Flying Dutchman). I do also wish there had been just a touch more humor (and I know that's hard to do when part of the time is spent with Davy Jones).

The acting was great as usual. Johnny Depp has no peer, and I found Jack Davenport's role especially intriguing. Bloom and Knightly were quite good as well, but I was wishing for a little more meat in Bloom's role (Knightly had plenty with which to deal).

Overall, the storyline was interesting, the acting was very good, the action scenes were engaging and exciting, and it was a fun ride. The ending is incomplete - we know that the 3rd movie is half done already - and I will probably go the day it opens again. These characters have new worlds to explore - both within and without. My grade - B+

P.S. - Stay until the credits are over :) You'll be glad you did.

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